The top firefighters and police officer of the year for their respective departments were recently named, celebrating their individual accomplishments as decided by their peers. Each honoree represents the best of their departments by setting an excellent example to their peers for their stellar work ethic and overall superior performance coupled with a good attitude.
Honorees were Guillermo Manriquez, Oakdale Police Department; Richard Gleaves, Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District; and Kevin Wise, Oakdale City Fire Department.
Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District - Firefighter Of The Year Richard Gleaves
Richard Gleaves began volunteering with Oakdale Fire Protection District in January 2011 so his recent selection as Firefighter of the Year was a huge shock to him.
He joined the rural district because he felt a duty to positively contribute to his community and because he wanted to experience the excitement of responding to emergencies to help people.
“Being chosen for Firefighter of the Year was surprising to me because I thought I would need more experience to prove my worth,” Gleaves said. “To be selected for this honor, all members of the department individually vote for the person they believe has earned this honor. Part of my success is due to the willingness of all the firefighters in the department to spend time training me and providing guidance, motivating me to keep going and succeed.”
Gleaves attributed his success to the unfailing support of his wife, saying, “She has and continues to support me. Volunteering takes a lot of my personal time which means she takes on more work around the house when I am away.”
When not volunteering, Gleaves enjoys working around the house in Oakdale and spending time with his three dogs.
Gleaves said, “Volunteering has brought enjoyment into my life and I am proud to be a member of the Oakdale Fire Protection District. I intend to contribute to the Oakdale community and the Oakdale Fire Protection District for many years to come.”
Oakdale City Fire Department - Firefighter Of The Year Kevin Wise
Kevin Wise started out as a reserve firefighter with the Oakdale Fire Department in 2004. On Sept. 1, 2005 he was hired as a full time firefighter. On Sept. 8, 2007, he promoted to the rank of engineer. Two years later, in April 2009, he promoted to the position of relief specialist and then to captain in December of that year.
Married to wife, Tara, he is a father to two children and in his spare time continues to volunteer with the Woodland Fire Department, putting in 13 years as a volunteer with that department.
This is the second time Wise has been voted Firefighter of the Year by his peers.
In addition to Wise’s first responder duties, he is also responsible for various departmental projects such as serving as a CPR and First Aid instructor, communications manager, and department representative on the County Committee Advisory Committee. He also serves as a water rescue and confined space rescue team member as well as an alternate coordinator for the department’s Technical Rescue program.
Wise was one of five firefighters nominated for this departmental distinction. While all the nominees were deserving, Wise was given the award due to his high standard of excellence, willingness to go above and beyond his assigned duties and responsibilities as well as his drive to succeed.
“Kevin is the ultimate team player. There’s no doubt in my mind that at any time, he would drop whatever he was doing to assist his fellow firefighters regardless if it was work-related or personal. I’m glad he’s on our team,” said Oakdale City Fire Division Chief Rick Fields.
Wise was surprised and amazed by the award, saying, “It’s very humbling. I’m so honored to be given this award for a second time. I love my job. To me, being a firefighter is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.”
Oakdale Police Officer Of The Year - Guillermo Manriquez (G-Man)
Guillermo Manriquez, also known as “G-man” was born in El Chapadero, Michoacan, Mexico and relocated to Riverbank with his parents at 3 years old. He graduated from Riverbank High School and held several jobs before signing on with the Oakdale Police Department on March 25, 2000.
He is married to Kathy, a retired dispatcher for the police department, and they have three miniature Schnauzers who are their babies and quite spoiled.
Manriquez has served in several capacities in the past 11-plus years. He’s served as an officer, master officer, detective, a Field Training Officer (FTO), and as an acting sergeant.
His peers say that Manriquez stands out among the rest because of the stellar job he did undertaking the difficult task of sole detective for the department for a term of 18 months.
During this time, he was being pulled in a lot of directions and asked to do the impossible with regard to follow-up investigations.
Despite the demands, Manriquez always maintained an excellent attitude and tried his utmost to help his peers and the community.
In an email sent to Oakdale Police Chief Marty West, a citizen praised Manriquez for his professionalism and sense of duty.
“…I am writing to commend Officer Guillermo Manriquez for his quick response time. I had an unfortunate mishap with a very rude (local) driver who cut across an intersection illegal(ly), cutting me off and parking illegally heading in the wrong direction. I left the area and called for an officer. Officer Manriquez answered my call and as promised, arrived within the time frame he had given me. He was polite and caring. I must say he is a credit to the Oakdale Police Department.”
West praised Manriquez saying, “Guillermo is truly an outstanding officer.”
For his part, Manriquez was humbled by the award from his peers and said it meant a lot to him to have the faith of his fellow officers.
“It’s hard to say how much this means to me,” Manriquez said. “When it comes from your peers, it means so much more.”